Page 291 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

The great struggle which enlarged the Ypres Salient in the
autumn of 1917 is so generally spoken of as the Battle of Pass–
chendaele that it is natural that "Passchendaele" should be borne
as a battle honour on the Colours. But strictly the name applies
only to the fighting on 12th October ("First Passchendaele") and
between 26th October and loth November ("Second Passchendaele").
No battalion of the Regiment took any direct part in these actions,
though the 19th Battalion qualified for the battle honour of "First
Passchendaele" by being engaged under very trying conditions in
work near Frezenberg on that day, whilst the 3rd/Sth, 2nd/6th,
2nd/7th, 2nd/8th, lOth, 17th, 18th and 20th Battalions were
within the prescribed area for "Second Passchendaele."
1ST/ 5TH,
The 12Sth Infantry Brigade (Ist/Sth, 1st/6th, Istl7th, and
1ST~6TH .
1st/8th Battalions) spent a fortnight in and out of the line at Ypres
after its attack on 6th September and was relieved then by South
African units and moved up to the Belgian coast west of Nieuport.
At first it enjoyed a rest at St. Idesbalde, with beautifully warm
weather, daily bathing and drill parades on the firm sands. On Sth
October the brigade took over a sector of trenches north of Nieuport
and on the east side of the River Yser from the 66th Division, its
own second-line formation. As has been described in Chapter XI,
the line in this area was very sketchy and confusing. This led to an
unfortunate loss for the 1st/8th Battalion on loth October, a very
BN .
dark night, when the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel G. E.
Hope, M.C., Grenadier Guards, in going with two others from one
company to another in the front positions, stumbled into an enemy
post. They quickly went in what they thought was the right
direction, only to meet another and bigger body of Germans. There
followed a struggle, from which his companions managed to escape,
but Lieutenant-Colonel Hope was never heard of again.
After the usual routine in the coastal district, the brigade was
relieved by the 321st French Infantry Regiment on the night of
17th/18th November. With so many waterways, it is not surprising
to find that part of the brigade moved by barge after it had been
relieved; and the interesting terms "Embarged" and "Disembarging
Point" appear in the War Diary of the 1st/8th Battalion. After this
experience, the brigade marched all the way to Bethune, where it
arrived on 27th November, going into the line at Cambrin, im–
mediately south of the La Bassee Canal, on the following day.
Kot far away was the 9th Battalion, which had moved to the
Lens sector, five miles farther south, at the end of October.
2NIl BN.
The 2nd Battalion was concerned with an ill-fated raid at
Monchy-le-Preux in the middle of November. The object was to
obtain identifications and to cause loss to the enemy. A party of
twenty men of
Company under Second-Lieutenant
E. ].